Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Proposal

I've thought about how I wanted to write this post a lot. Whether I wanted to include all the details that made the day so perfect (and humorous) or to just give the big picture. But because I want to remember every moment from that day, there are going to be a lot of details. If you want to read JUST the proposal part, scroll down about halfway. If not, the rest is for you. :)

October 9th is Michael's birthday so I woke up SO excited. I love birthdays and even though we didn't have too much planned (or so I thought) I was excited to celebrate him.

We've been planning the wedding for a couple months now and it's not too far off so I was sure he couldn't surprise me. At that point it wasn't a question of if he was going to propose, but when. 

I dropped Linc off at school and headed home to get ready for our day. We had plans to play putt-putt in St. Augustine and then go to dinner at Cap's on the Water with Michael's mom for his birthday dinner. 

I texted him this picture and told him I bought my coffee in celebration of his birthday. Justification at it's finest.

I picked Linc up from school and then we headed to Michael's house. When we got there he opened his presents/cards and Linc ate lunch. I should add that we hung out with his dad and grandma while we were there and they gave NOTHING away. His dad even said, "Have a good time at dinner, I hear the food is good. Depending on what time y'all get back I may not see you." I mean. These people are GOOD.

We headed to St. Augustine to a new putt-putt and it's our new favorite. SO much fun! 

Because we didn't expect it to be so hot, I didn't bring sunscreen and when Lincoln's face started getting red I couldn't be sure if it was him being hot or being sun burnt (he was just hot) so I asked Michael if him and I could skip the rest of the holes and just let Linc play real fast. He said yes, but that totally ruined the next part of his plan.

He convinced me we needed nice clothes for dinner (you go, MikeHodges!) so we "asked" his mom if we could go to her house to change. She wasn't going to be there because she was "shopping," aka, at the restaurant coordinating the proposal. 

Because of the heat vs. sunburn issue, we were going to catch her still at her house so Michael detoured. I'm talking, through-the-bad-part-of-town, terribly-lost detour. And this is the thing. Michael Hodges doesn't get lost. Ever. Flag number one that something was up. 

Then he told me he wanted to take me by a restaurant he's told me is his favorite so I could see where it was. That added to the detour. And then of course, he and Lincoln needed drinks, so we stopped at a gas station too. 

Off we headed to his mom's house and his phone rings. He immediately mutes it and takes it farther away from me. He's then texting his mom and I'm thinking, What is so important that it can't wait the ten minutes? Well. Apparently we were about to catch her was important. 

When we got to her neighborhood he pulls down the wrong street and says, "Oops. I thought this street went through." We pull up to his mom's house just as I'm giving up on figuring out how on earth he thought the two streets were connected and we headed inside. 

We were supposed to meet his mom at the restaurant at 5:30 so we all started getting ready. What I didn't know then was that he was checking voice mails and texting people while he was in the bathroom.

We got to the restaurant and headed up to the hostess. She looked all sorts of happy and immediately seated us at a table right on the water. What I didn't know then is that Cap's is crazy busy on a Friday night. For one, you have to wait, and two, you don't usually get lucky enough to get a seat right by the water. 

When we sat down I started deciding what Linc was going to eat and Michael didn't even touch his menu which is unheard of because the man loves to eat. His mom said, "I need to go grab something out of the car," and walks away from us. We ordered our drinks and then Michael asked if we wanted to go walk on the dock while we waited for his mom to get back. The three of us love sunsets on the water and docks, so it was perfect. 

We headed out there and the dock was empty. I mean, no one in sight. I didn't pay much attention though because I'd never been and I was all sorts of hungry. I found out later that the entire restaurant knew what was about to happen. They had cleared tables so we would definitely have a seat on the water and they had made sure no one stood up from their tables or went on the docks. 

Linc really wanted to go on the floating dock at this point and we both told him we would in a minute. At that point Michael pulls me in his arms and just holds me, not unusual at all. Then Lincoln tried to walk away and Michael says, "Linc, stay here. I need to ask your Mommy a question." 

At this point I am about to flip out. I literally thought "Does he mean like what I want for dinner or THE question?!" 

He held me some more, Linc tried to walk away some more, and Michael finally said, "Lincoln, stand right there for just one minute." It took all I had not to die laughing because he was being so sweet and Lincoln was trying to run off and it was just typical our life. 

After holding me some more he said the sweetest things, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes and went into shock mode where I promptly told him over and over, "But it's your birthday." 

From the beginning we've really wanted our proposal and wedding to be about the three of us becoming a family which is why it was so perfect that Linc man was right beside us when it happened. Michael got down on Lincoln's level and said, "Lincoln, I just asked your Mommy to marry me," and Linc, without skipping I beat, said "I know. I heard you." Heaven help us.

About five minutes later Michael asked "Do you like your ring?" and that's precisely when I realized I hadn't looked at it yet. 

It finally hit me that I wanted to tell people and I asked, "Does everyone know?!" He grabbed my hand and said, "Come here, baby." When we were almost off the dock I looked up and there was a group of about 20 of our closest family and friends who had just witnessed the whole thing and I was completely shocked.

Each time I turned around and saw someone else I kept saying, "And YOU'RE here!" Over and over. 

Completely shocked. Completely excited. And look at his sweet smile. The man did so good!

The rest of the night we got to spend hanging out with all the people we love. It was the best! Lincoln's best friend was there so he was super excited to hang out with him. 

We took more pictures and we ate good food and we enjoyed being engaged. 

I prayed for this countless times and God has answered my prayers with these two gifts. I couldn't feel any more blessed to be Lincoln's mom and Michael's fiance. Friday night I just stared at them because I'm in awe. This is really real, they are really here, and we are really a family. It's the best gift in the entire world.

These two are everything. My family, my home. I am SO excited to spend the rest of my life these them. They are my greatest adventure. 

God is good and His timing is perfect.

I couldn't have planned this night better myself. Michael worked so hard to keep this huge secret.. He had so many people involved and went to Cap's three times to plan it all out. The man is thoughtful and selfless and I am so excited to be marrying him!

Thank you to our family and friends who went with the flow that night, especially when the plan kept changing. It meant the world to us to have y'all there and love y'all more than words can say.

Thank you to Cap's on the Water for being so accommodating. Your staff went above and beyond to make this the most special night and we appreciate it so much!

And a huge thank you to our friend Lori Lawson. These pictures are so beautiful and you did such an amazing job! You can find her website here and her facebook page here 

Here's to a future full of wrestle-fighting, nerf gun-shooting, and lots of laughter. I am so excited to see what God has in store for our family!


Monday, October 12, 2015

We're Engaged!!!

Friday night, October 9th, Michael got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever! 

It was a complete surprise and we were surrounded by all of our closest family and friends, including our sweet Linc man. The night couldn't have been more perfect! 

We are so excited to start this new journey as a family of three! 

Once I get the pictures back from that night I'll do a detailed post. Thank you to our family and friends who have celebrated with us these past few days! We love y'all! 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Dear FHP

Dear Officer from Florida Highway Patrol, 

First off, praise God for our police officers. You people in uniform have chosen a career that protects people. You have willingly chosen to go to work every morning knowing you may not come home, and for that I thank you. You are brave and selfless, and I'm grateful there are men and women out there who sacrifice their lives for others like your profession does. 

On Thursday, September 24th at 5 am, you were called to a scene of a wreck that involved my car, and my car only.

I woke up that morning at 4 am and was heading to Mayo Clinic for clinicals for nursing school. 

During the pouring rain, as I was driving on the Dames Point Bridge, my car hydroplaned, starting spinning, and threw me towards the water. In that moment I thought, "I'm going to drown. I'm going to die today." By the grace of God (who calls me to love you despite your actions), I hit the guard rail and my car spun back the other way to the opposite guard rail. I hit that guard rail and after spinning a couple more times I stopped in the middle of the three lanes. When I stopped I started sobbing. It was definitely the scariest moment of my life. I drove the rest of the way off the bridge down to the shoulder. 

That day I felt fear like I never knew was possible. I was confronted with the thought that I was going to lose my life at the age of 22, by what I feel is one of the worst ways possible to do so.

My parents called highway patrol and you arrived 40 minutes later. I was calm when you arrived because I felt safe by the fact that an officer was there. From there it was downhill.

It was still raining. It was apparent by the look on your face and by your actions that you felt this was nothing more than an inconvenience to you. When I rolled down my window you didn't bother to ask if I was injured or if I was okay, you immediately asked if I had looked at the damages. I hadn't because it was dark outside and still raining and I was trying to stay as dry as possible since I had to be at the hospital for the next 12 hours. 

You asked me to get out so I did. You asked about the wreck and which side I hit first. When I said the right you gave me a look like I didn't know what I was talking about, and after examining my car again, you said, "You're probably right." (Of course I was right, I was the one who experienced it.)

Before you left you chastised me for driving 55 miles per hour (the speed limit was 65). You also informed me that I needed to be careful because "when it rains the roads get wet." Now I understand I don't yet have a college degree, but I am intelligent enough to understand the very complicated fact that when it rains the roads, do in fact, get wet. Sir, you don't deserve to talk down to people just because you've been inconvenienced or because they are younger than you.   

You gave me a ticket for $114 for unsafe driving conditions. I didn't cause anyone else to wreck. I wasn't on my cell phone. And I wasn't distracted. My car simply hydroplaned because this particular bridge isn't in the best condition to handle cars during the rain. This was a ticket based on the fact that I knew the tread on my tires wasn't so great. I would imagine that if you stopped 10 people and looked at all their tires, at least five of those people have bad tires. 

This is the thing. I'm a 22 year old single mom. I have the most handsome blue-eyed son, whom I adore more than life itself. (He almost lost his mommy that morning.) I had him at 18 and despite all the odds, he has a great life. I graduated from high school a month after he was born, and immediately started a full-time job during the day, while I took online classes at night. I got into nursing school and I'll graduate in less than three months. (If you didn't know, less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by the age of 30. I'm about to become a radical statistic. I've worked my butt off for this.) I send him to a private pre-school because it's what is best for him, even though it cost me a lot of money (My $114 would have almost paid for next month's tuition). I'm working my hardest to provide a fantastic life for him. 

I wish so badly that I had a life that allows me to go buy a set of tires when the tread is getting bad. One day I will have that. One day I will be able to buy a set of tires at the drop of the hat without the faintest worry of how I'm going to pay for the other things in my life. But that day is not today, nor was it Thursday morning. 

When you handed me my ticket AND I knew I'd either have to pay the damage on my car or replace it, my heart sank. Because to you, $114 may not be that much. But to me that's a great deal of money. I'm already worried about how I'll come up with the money for a new car if the insurance declares my vehicle as totaled. 

But in the end, it's not even about the money. It's about your lack of compassion. Because in a moment where I needed a lot of compassion, you were condescending. You didn't once stop to ask if I was alright. You spoke to me as if I was stupid. You also acted as if the wreck was my fault and I needed to be punished. I was punished the moment my car hydroplaned towards the water. If you were trying to teach me a lesson, I learned it. But not with your rude speech or your condescending attitude. I learned it as I prayed God would spare my life. I was scared out of my mind, and I was met with an officer who didn't show an ounce of compassion. You had the opportunity to make me feel complete respect for your profession and you didn't take it. 

You see.. Everyone has a story. You would benefit greatly to know other's stories before you act as if you are better than them. 

I work in a field full of compassionate people. Health care and compassion go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. 

Sometimes my patients are going through things that happened to them completely through no fault of their own. They have lung cancer, but never smoked. They had a heart attack but are in great shape. They have hepatitis, but they got it from a needle stick they acquired while taking care of someone else. 

But sometimes, my patients have issues that they've caused on their own. Some have cancer that was caused by their smoking. Some have aids because they are in prostitution. I personally choose to care for them the same way I would care for anyone else. Because we're not perfect, and we all still deserve compassion. You don't have to like or agree with someones choices to be compassionate.

I understand you deal with criminals - people that you have to be firm and tough with. However, I am not a criminal, and I did not do anything illegal. I've never even gotten a speeding ticket. I deserved more sensitivity and understanding than you showed me that morning. 

I don't choose to write this letter to be condescending to you. In fact, you may never even see it. You may have lost a family member Wednesday, or maybe you just found out you're losing your home. I pray that is not the case. Hopefully the reason you were rude and unsympathetic was just because you were inconvenienced, not because something terrible happened to you this week. I still think the world of police officers. I do not wish any ill to fall on you, but I do wish you learned a little compassion. 

Because Thursday morning it was me who was almost thrown off the bridge. But what if it was your mom, your wife, your daughter? I don't know you, but I imagine you would've wanted an officer to at least say, "Are you alright?" in that moment. "Treat others how you would want to be treated." We say it a lot, but we need to live it more. 

So sir, I hope your Thursday got better. Mine sure did. I got to go take care of patients at the hospital, come home to my family, tell my son I love him, and I got to live to see another day. So as you continue to do your job, I advise you to show some compassion. Try to understand that every person has a story that you may know nothing about, and it would be wise to try to see a person as more than just an inconvenience.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Best Summer Ever {Part One}

Linc man started back to school last week, and we're trying our best to get back into a routine. 

I loved the mornings we got to stay in our pajamas until noon, and the days we would head to Mike Hodges house to spend all day with him. I loved the plans we made, and all the spontaneous moments we didn't plan. We didn't go on vacation or do anything extravagant, but we had so much fun. 

He's so excited to be in school again, and I know he will have a great year, but I sure will miss him from 9-12 every day. I will, however, get much more studying done because have you ever tried to study with a four year old jumping on your head? Exactly.

So just because I know I'll want to look back one day {like next week}, here's a recap of our summer. I had planned on doing one long post.. but I've taken so many pictures this Summer that I can't possibly post only one without boring everyone to tears.

So here's part one.. June!

We hung out with this sweet girl a lot. Her shirt says "If you think I'm cute you should see my aunt. Do you want to be my uncle?" I bought it before I met met and he says she can't wear it in public anymore. 

I hung out with these crazy people A LOT. As in, 3-4 times a week. We wore our cute white scrubs and we had a blast {sometimes}. In the picture above, Hayden is wearing a hat to class.. Her husband told her that morning "You look like a soccer mom who's given up on life." Which we all thought was hilarious. 

Linc man got a new car seat..

..And I got new glasses.

We celebrated Curry turning four!

My best friend got engaged!

And I got to watch her say yes to the dress!

We celebrated my passing PEDS with a trip to this awesome trampoline place. I may or may not have not so secretly laughed at Mike for not being able to get out of the foam pit.

Linc and I went to have lunch with Mike at his work. He typically walks us out to the car before he goes back but he had an emergency so I told him we'd be fine. Somehow I got all turned around and completely lost on the hospital campus. When we finally got outside it started pouring so I had to carry my 41 pound child through the rain for what seemed like a mile. This picture had to be included because we laughed for a good thirty minutes through the whole ordeal. It reminded me that life is too short to take yourself too seriously. And if you have a terrible sense of direction you should laugh about it often {mostly because everyone will laugh at your for it}. 

And then of course we hung out with our Mike Hodges..

We went canoeing.

Spending time between the three of us was my absolute favorite part of the month. 

And then for the sweetness that is my little boy..

I'm still floored that I get to be this little one's Mommy. Every day with him is a joy and an adventure and I can't wait to see what God has in store for his life.

So there's the first part of our Summer. It was so good. Laid back and full of fun.. Just how Summer should be! Sometime soon I'll get part two and three up! Happy Monday!